Posts Tagged ‘Fertilizing lawns’

Australian researchers from Queensland University announced that the smell of freshly mown grass sooths stressed out rats and mice.  After a hard day running the wheel, one waft of the just clipped green sent the rodents into Zen-like states, improving their memory while lowering their anxiety. 

The problem is, none of those squeakers ever had to deal with an actual lawn.  After a summer of clipping, edging, raking, and watering, the last thing the lawn evokes is a calming sense of stress release.  That thin, sluggishly growing diva gets your blood pressure climbing, and a flamethrower starts looking like a serious option for better lawn care.

Give it – and yourself – a break by giving that grass a late season application of fertilizer.  The boost grass gets from the extra nitrogen will have it making and storing food for the winter, then using it for powerful growth in spring.  This simple act will have you complimenting, rather than cursing, your yard.

As long as your grass is green, the last shot of fertilizer can be put down in the first part of November.  This keeps the grass photosynthesizing as it heads into winter, storing the food it makes in its roots.  Once spring warms the turf, it greens up, becomes lush and dense, but doesn’t grow so quickly you need to mow often.

Any lawn fertilizer will do; you don’t have to choose a product labeled as winterizer.  The nitrogen is what’s important, so use up any fertilizer left from the summer.

While you’re feeling the lawn love, take time to put your mower to bed.  Disconnect the spark plug wire from the spark plug before starting, so you can drain the gas from the gas tank without risking fire from an unplanned spark. 

If you prefer to leave the gas in the mower tank, add a fuel stabilizer to prevent corrosion and keep the fuel fresh.  Replace the spark plug in your mower, change the air filter and oil, and your job is done.

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It lays outside, quietly hoping you’ll notice its hunger.  Rich, brilliant tones have settled to dull green, with a golden glaze coating the swath.  Sure, you still have to mow it every week, but the season of growth has left your lawn in need of a boost from fertilizer.    Thin yellow lawn

 September is the month for fall lawn care, and the most important aspect to lawn rejuvenation is a strong fall feeding.  Use a turf-builder fertilizer that has both quick and slow release nutrients.  All-purpose mixes have 16 nutrients needed by turf to be healthy – a balanced fertilizer goes beyond offering nitrogen, phosphate and potassium oxide (the N-P-K numbers). 

Lawns aren’t supposed to turn color in the fall, so if yours is taking on a yellow pall, you need to add some iron.  But our soils are so alkaline that you need chelated iron to apply to lawns that suffer from iron chlorosis.  Be aware that not all chelation formulas work in our soils, so look for ethylene diamine dihdroxyphenyl acetate (EDDHA).  The more commonly, and cheaply, available EDTA (ethylene diamine tetraacetate) is only active in pH-neutral soils – something we rarely see here in Colorado.  

 Nitrogen depends on temperature and moisture for release into the soil.  When we have warm days plus a few rain showers, lawns get a quick boost of food, and under ideal conditions, turf – an active scavenger of nitrogen – will take up the nitrogen within hours of it being put down.

This is perfect for lawns towards the end of September, because the quickly available fertilizer will increase turf vigor, and the slow release will continue encouraging turf rebuilding well into fall.  Thin spots

 Thin areas where the grass has died off completely can be over-seeded now.  To get the best results from over-seeding, water the lawn 24 hours before aerating.  Pass the aerator over the turf in two to three directions to open up many holes.  Immediately over-seed with the grass of your choice, but in general, tall fescues do not blend well with bluegrass, perennial rye or fine fescue because of its wide grass blades.

Grass seed takes a while to germinate, so keep humidity on the lawn for 14 to 21 days. 

Use starter fertilizer at the time of overseeding to feed the turf without burning the new shoots.

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